0800045 - NAVAL ATOMIC WEAPONS VULNERABILITY PROGRAM
Late 1950s Black & White/Color Sanitized 21:15
The Navy realized that any implosion-type nuclear weapon would be extremely hazardous to personnel in the area should the conventional high explosives (HE) contained in the weapon detonate prematurely. A particular threat to firemen and rescue personnel stationed on a carrier was the possibility that a plane carrying an implosion weapon could crash and burn on the deck, setting off the HE and dispersing radioactive materials. Other threats were from explosions on ships carrying rockets or missiles.
Three tests were carried out in this program at the fire test area at the Navy’s China Lake facility in California. The first fire test involved a Mark 7 dummy nuclear warhead with live HE, where the fire caused the HE to detonate. The second test involved a Mark 7 dummy warhead and a Boar solid rocket motor, which were both destroyed by the fire. In the third test, a Mark 34 warhead in a sealed dummy pit was placed in the fire, but the HE did not detonate. Description courtesy the Department of Energy.